I am a man of nostalgia. I have so many things that defined my childhood. There are some things I forget about, but somehow, those all come back to me. One of these things would involve a bear cub and a fox cub who live under the same roof and have no knowledge of the life of people. I am talking, of course, about Buttons and Rusty.


A lot of you might be asking who these two are and where they came from. Well, they are things I remember from my childhood, and that's all that really matters here. Now, allow me to explain the premise of this.

Buttons and Rusty, also known as the Chucklewood Critters, are a fox and bear cub who...well, if I could pick three words to best describe them, they would be: curious, adventurous, and mischievious. These characters were created by Bill Hutten and Tony Love.

These two characters started their adventures off in the 1980's with a few half-hour TV holiday specials. Those four are the ones I distinctly remember from my childhood, and that's what I'm going to be talking about in this article. Before I do, let me talk a little bit about the main characters.


Buttons and Rusty are the stars, so I'll talk about them first. Buttons is a bear, and Rusty is a fox. These two are best friends, and they're pretty much the same as far as personality goes. They're both curious about the world outside of their home as they know nothing about it and are always eager to try knew things, but when they realize they've done something wrong, they get into trouble. The only real difference between the two is that Buttons is more cautious, and Rusty is more energetic.


Buttons and Rusty are both only children who both have a set of parents. Strangely, I don't know why, but both families live in the same cave. Buttons' parents are Abner and Bridgette, and Rusty's parents are George and Rosie.

You know, if I saw a fox that was as big as me, I'd probably wet my pants. Anyway, the parents are typical parents, always being strict with their children and making sure they're safe and all. Whenever Buttons and Rusty leave their home for a while, the moms usually worry about them, but the dads always assume they'll be alright because they know them very well.


Then, we've got Ranger Jones. He's the park ranger of Chucklewood. Buttons and Rusty are his favorite cubs in Chucklewood; they always come to him to ask him a question about something or if they need help. He's been known to tell them all about holidays and how certain tools and contractions work. He always seems to have a positive attitude about everything.

Okay, now that I've gotten the main characters out of the way, let's talk about the specials.


The Christmas Tree Train

The Chucklewood Critters made their debut in this 1983 Christmas special called "The Christmas Tree Train". This special is set around Christmas time, and Buttons' family is just about ready to turn themselves in for hibernation.


Rusty tells Buttons that Ranger Jones (or "Jonesy" as they call him) is up to something, and they go check it out. It turns out that he's decorating for Christmas. He tells the cubs all about Christmas and shows them some toys that he got for his grandchildren.


On their way home, a blizzard hits, and the cubs get lost. Eventually, they find themselves in a lumberjack area where they accidentally get boarded onto the Christmas Tree Train and go on a wild trip to the city.


George and Abner come to Jonesy's place worried about the cubs and they go out to find them. As it turned out, Jonesy comes up with the conclusion that Buttons and Rusty were on the Christmas Tree Train. Luckily, Jonesy had some friends in the city, and he called them to tell them to be on the lookout for the two cubs.


There also seems to be this running gag of Abner falling asleep.


Meanwhile, Buttons and Rusty come across this barn owl who also accidentally came onto the train, and he tells them all about the dangers there are in the city.


When the cubs arrive in the city, they find out how crazy it is compared to their home, but since they know nothing about city life, it's hard for them to get around some places.


Eventually, they find themselves in a department store. Here, they try to hide from the humans by pretending to be stuffed animals, hiding in mannequins wearing fur coats, and doing all this other weird stuff.


Since Buttons was really hungry, he and Rusty decide to steal a couple hot dogs, and then they find themselves in some decorative window display of Christmas decorations and toys thinking they might be back home. Then, lights come on, and all the toys start up, and for some unknown reason, Buttons and Rusty start dancing.


Of course, all this ends when Santa Claus comes in to ruin all their fun...uh, I mean, take them home.

Which Witch is Which?

The second of these specials was a Halloween special released in 1984. This one was entitled "Which Witch is Which?"


The special opens with Buttons and Rusty watching kids playing frisbee with their dog. Rusty gets hit with the frisbee, and the dog chases after him and Buttons.


They wind up meeting Jonesy at his place where he tells them all about the traditions of Halloween, which just so happens to be the day this is set in. Jonesy is holding a party at his place for kids after they're done trick-or-treating. The thought of eating a whole lot of candy gets Buttons all excited, but Rusty gets sick thinking about it. I guess Buttons has a higher motabalism than Rusty.


Meanwhile, George and Abner realize that their cubs have been gone a long time, and decide to go out and get them.


This is when we're introduced to the villains of this special, who look like New York versions of Boris and Natasha. Their plot is to steal a lot of valuable items around Chucklewood and sell them for money.


The guy has this bear costume, which he wears to scare little kids away. It just so happens that George and Aber caught him and have mistaken him for Buttons, so they chase him down and then retreat realizing the mistake they made.


Later that night, Buttons and Rusty decide to do their own trick-or-treating around Chucklewood so that they could have their own party since Jonesy didn't invite them. Unfortunately, they got more tricks than they did treats.


Then, it just so happened that Buttons and Rusty have come across the two thieves who have just hijacked somebody's van. The man was wearing his bear costume, while the woman was wearing this orange fur coat that she stole and wanted to keep for herself.


Ranger Jones gets a call about the hijackers, whom have been mistaken for Buttons and Rusty, so he goes out to investigate.


This is when we cut to this absolutely pointless music video about witches. I mean, what the hell is up with this? It just comes right out of nowhere, has nothing to do with the plot, is totally ridiculous, and nobody ever talks about it again for the rest of the film! In other words...

(Trademark)


So after that pointless mumbo jumbo, the ranger tracks down the bad guys, Buttons and Rusty get saved, but they get a huge lecture from their parents. Oh well.

The Turkey Caper

In 1985, the third Chucklewood Critter holiday special, "The Turkey Caper" was released. I didn't see this one as often as the other three, and I think it's mostly because I didn't have this one recorded onto any tape.

So anyway, as you may have guessed, this special focuses on Thanksgiving. We really don't see many Thanksgiving specials, so this one was pretty unique.


The special opens up with George and Abner building these crates where they can store food for the winter. This is probably the first time we learn about Abner's overconfidence.


Meanwhile, Buttons and Rusty, who are somehow really high on sugar, decide to go to a cabin they saw in Wild Turkey Valley and explore it.


On the way, they meet their two turkey friends, Marty and Priscilla. They decide to go up to the cabin with the cubs.


Up there, Buttons finds this funny-looking hat, while Rusty finds this book. He decides to take it to Ranger Jones and have him explain it to them.


On the way down there, this speeding truck drives by, which makes the cubs jump, and Rusty is left with butterflies in his stomach. They just decide to forget about it and continue to the Ranger's place.


It just so happens that the book they found talked about the first Thanksgiving. Jonesy reads the story to the cubs, and just after he said "Once upon a time", the cubs immediately fell asleep and dreamed of themselves as part of the story. Now, let me ask you this: Do these cubs get bored THAT easily?


So after that little moment, the cubs decide to go home and celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. They thought it would be a good idea to invite Marty and Priscilla, but of course, little did they know, Thanksgiving could be a dangerous time for turkeys! On the way there, they see that truck they saw earlier, and it turns out that there were two men who were kidnapping turkeys including Marty and Priscilla.


The cubs help the turkeys escape and decide to hide them all in those crates their dads were building earlier.


The cubs quickly rush over to Jonesy to warn him about the two men, and thinking quickly, Jonesy reports this to the police.


Back at the cave, Abner scared all the turkeys away, but Buttons and Rusty explained to their families what was going on.


Just in the nick of time, Ranger Jones had caught the two men, and as it turned out, they were actually from the Wildlife Conservation Society and were going to move the turkeys to a place where they'd be safe and happy for the winter. Well, I guess we won't be having turkey for dinner this Thanksgiving. Anyone up for some frozen pizza? Whatever. Next special!

A Chucklewood Easter

In this 1987 special, we finally get to see Chucklewood in the spring time. It begins with Ranger Jones getting ready for the annual Easter picnic by putting up signs all over the forest.


Meanwhile, Buttons and his parents are still hibernating from last winter. Rusty is anxious for Buttons to wake up so that they could play again. He wakes him up by tickling his nose with his tail.


After having a quick breakfast, the cubs run outside and meet these two rabbits named Skipper and Bluebell, who are collecting these flowers, but it's a secret between the two of them.


Then they meet...you guessed it...Ranger Jones. He takes the cubs on a jeep ride and tells them about Easter.


Buttons and Rusty decide to practice coloring eggs. Since they don't have any of their own, they decide to *ahem* "borrow" some eggs from other nests around Chucklewood.


While the cubs were back home coloring eggs, the other critters all realised that each one of them has an egg missing from their nest, and they all come crying to Ranger Jones about this.


Later that night, Buttons and Rusty decide that it's too late to put the eggs back and get up really early the next morning to put them all back.


While Rusty was talking, Buttons caught a silhouette of the Easter Bunny. He tells Rusty about this, and this causes Rusty to jump in fear and start having his way with Buttons. My, the stuff they can get away with back in the 80's.


It actually has come to their attention that a whole line of rabbits are marching somewhere. Kinda creepy if you ask me. The cubs decide to follow the trail and see where the rabbits are going, although, I have a strange feeling that they're all coming home from an Easter Vigil mass or something; then again, this isn't "Family Circus".


So as it turned out, the cubs find out where the Easter Bunny is hiding out. They decide to go in and check it out by disguising themselves as rabbits.


Now, here's a part that I don't quite get. Upon coming into the hideout, Buttons starts to enter, but he sort of stops there. I mean, what the heck is going on? Well, Rusty ran up and gave him a push, so I would assume that Buttons got stuck.

Hmm...a bear getting stuck in a rabbit hole? Gee, I wonder how this sounds familiar!



So anyway, the cubs make it into the Easter Bunny hideout, which looks like Willy Wonka's pet cemetary, and they get forced to work with the other rabbits.


Meanwhile, the next day, the parents realise that Buttons and Rusty are not home, but for some reason are not in the least worried about them. It's then when Jonesy tells them about the missing eggs, they discover the eggs that the cubs were painting and decided to return them themselves.


Back to Buttons and Rusty. So, they stayed overnight at the place, and somehow, their disguises got undone. Once all the other rabbits find out that a fox and bear are here, they all panic. The cubs panic too, and they wind up knocking the Easter Bunny into a big tub of fecalmatter. Yeah, I know, it's chocolate.


So Buttons and Rusty get put on trial for all that they've done, and they are sentinced to the wilderness.


The Easter Bunny ends up literally breaking out of his shell and decides to give the cubs a different punishment.


As it turned out, all the animal families were given the wrong eggs when the adults were returning them, so Buttons and Rusty were to spend most of the Easter picnic returning all the newborn babies to their rightful families.


That night, the foxes and bears returned home, only to discover that the Easter Bunny had left something there for Buttons and Rusty. Even though they did burglarize a few homes, discovered an area that's supposed to be secret to the world, and nearly got a few innocent creatures killed, they were sorry for what they did, and I guess this was the Easter Bunny's way of accepting their apology.

So anyway, those are all the Chucklewood adventures that were from my childhood. Little did I know, there were actually more of these, which came out in the early 90's, which I never saw for some reason. Man, Buttons and Rusty had all these great holiday specials, but I'm surprised they never had an official TV series.


Well, what do you know? They actually do have a TV series!

The Chucklewood Critters cartoon series is a show I didn't even know existed until recently. I managed to catch a few episodes, and this is what I have to say about it.


Each episode of the series is similar to the holiday specials. Each one is about Buttons and Rusty learning about something, trying it out, getting themselves into trouble, and learning a valuable life lesson in the end. They also have this flying machine called the Adventure Machine, which makes it somewhat easier for them to explore more of Chucklewood. This show also introduced some new characters.



Two new characters are Bearbette and Frisky, who are Buttons' and Rusty's girlfriends.


Another new character is this rodent named Skeeter. Skeeter lives underground, but spends most of the time above ground. Not much to say about him except for the fact that he cares more about food than anything else.


Then we've got Freddy the raccoon. He is a mischievous character always wanting to have fun but doing it in sort of a mean fashion. He's been known to frame Buttons and Rusty for things he did but mostly cause trouble for everyone.


Franklin is a wise owl who lives in Chucklewood. Whenever Buttons and Rusty discover something or have a question that they can't answer, they usually come to Franklin and have him analyze it. He's supposedly the smartest animal in Chucklewood.


Each episode ends with Franklin performing a rap based on the moral of the episode.


After watching a bunch of the episodes, I came to discover that the Chucklewood Critters TV series is actually quite good. In fact, it's a lot better than I thought it was going to be. Maybe I should have mentioned it in my Top 11 Underrated Cartoons article. Oh well, consider this to be an honorable mention.


So, there you have it. My childhood memories of Buttons and Rusty, the Chucklewood Critters. Those holiday specials really are a treat to watch. I wonder why they never came out on DVD. They made video releases, but never a DVD release. That's kind of odd. Well, if you can get your hands on any of these rare treasures, then you should definately check them out. For now, I'm going to wish you all good night, and I hope this nice long article was a good way to tickle your memories.